a final meaning and satisfaction, once and for all.- He worked
hard in the field with his uncle, with that same nervousness
and vindictiveness, not as though he occupied himself with
tasks that were a part of the tissue of his being, but as though
he wrestled to trip and strike an enemy. He would come in
at noon drenched with sweat and almost gasping with fatigue,
He would eat in silence, chewing his food doggedly and with-
out raising his eyes from his plate, and when he had finished
he would fling himself down on the porch, not casually and
luxuriously like Willie Proudfit, but as though he would seize
and conquer by violence the needed rest. " You'll wear yore-
self out," Willie Proudfit would say to him. "I seen men
like you, Sylvestus, and maybe they be goen on lak you fer
twenty years. And all of a sudden, they seen the world wasn't
no dirf rent, and they'd come nigh a-curse-en hit and their-
selves. And from that-air day on, they wouldn't sweat nuthen
but bitter sweat. And eat their vittles in bitterness. Or
they'd lay down and die."
" You ain't wore out," the nephew would say, " and I reckin
you had it hard as the next man."
" I seen it hard, off and on, I ain't deny-en. A man gits in
a tight, and he lays holt on what he kin and the Lord help
him. But that's diff'rent, now."
"Work's work," the nephew would respond, lying on the
boards of the porch, not opening his eyes, the sweat drying
stiff on the dull blue cloth of his shirt.
" A man labours," Willie Proudfit would say, " and sun to
sun. But he oughter know in his mind one day agin the next
day, and not lay up bitterness.
" Hit'll be layen up bitterness, and you lose yore place," the
nephew observed one day. "We don't make this year, and
git a price." He opened his eyes, and swept his arm upward
with a vicious motion of rejection. " And you a-talken. That
Willie Proudfit said nothing.
" Yeah, yeah, you lose yore place "—the nephew spoke with
a trace of vindictive pleasure, like a man driving home a